Poetry Reading in the Community Centre
I only notice it during the third reading,
matt red helium balloon
stroking smooth plaster ceiling,
magnetic frottage without fingers – buoyed,
desiring further progress
but barred, confined, hall-bound:
but for how long? I am on fifth.
I will this audience: look up, everyone!
No-one hears my silence, all are intent,
fixed to the words, and clothing, of reader four.
I monitor chemical decay within this scarlet orb,
surely its croaking gas must oxidise tomorrow;
at night perhaps – or during harmless pilates…
but not now, surely not now?
Bad things I have noted during poems:
ambulance siren…barking dog…baby…
mobile phone insolence…chair collapse.
Never a failing, fading helium balloon.
second line of second sonnet sees cerise
drifting, falling, wafting gentle-deadly
between avid front row and naked me.
I finally dry up when it can go no further
than polish-proud tea-dance floor:
from prisoner of anti-gravity
to prisoner of softening plastic weight
in one fell droop. Just like my soul.
This perfunctory, airhead meteorite has hit –
and I must accept extinction, the dinosaur’s art.
Ted Eames, 2018